Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω
Educated hip hop isn’t a trend. It should be – but it isn’t. Unfortunately, rising stars in the game of hip hop are quick to associate themselves with the glory of self-nurtured wit, because street hustle doesn’t operate within the confines of organized society as post-secondary education does.
Blazing this uncharted path of uneducated hip hop is Canada’s very own Shadrach Kabango, or Shad as he’s commonly known. Hailing from London, Ont. via Kenya, Shad not only finished an undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, but went on to complete a graduate degree at Simon Fraser University.
A skilled lyricist executing informed prose, Shad sets himself apart with his humble demeanour and thought provoking work. “What if we went to school for possession instead of jail?” Shad asks on “Live Forever,” a track featuring Dallas Green.
Shad’s career in hip hop began with a radio show contest hosted by Kitchener, Ont.’s 91.5 The Beat. Winning the contest, Shad was afforded $17,500 to record his first full-length album, When This is Over.
From the humble guitar-picking-while-rapping heard on When This is Over‘s “Rock to It,” to his Juno-winning TSOL, he has established himself as an icon of the Canadian hip-hop scene.
As a starting point, give “Brother” a listen to get a taste of the effortless flow Shad presents in his rapping.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra
Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω
For the average band in this modern era, the instruments needed are fairly straight forward. A couple guitars, a bass and a drum set should work. Sometimes fiddles, keyboards, a laptop, a horn or woodwind might sneak in as well.
In the case of the Lemon Bucket Orkestra they have cases labeled “flugelhorn” and “darbuka.” This isn’t an ordinary indie-rock or punk band. The 14-member group is, for all intents and purposes, a real orchestra thanks to the vague definition of the word. However, they aren’t about to play your grandma’s symphonies.
The band, founded in 2010, describes the music as world fusion or punk, or folk on occasion. Playing some original material and some traditional eastern European fare, the group takes punk aesthetics and attitude to heart in the most positive ways and mixes this with traditional music and instruments.
Their crazy-but-good-natured antics even got them a bit of press when they played for a delayed flight they were on, heading to a tour in Romania.
For a sampling of the gypsy-punk orchestra via Toronto, try “Odessa Bulgarish,” but be prepared for blaring horns, screaming violins, some pounding beats and a hyperactive accordion.